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She Persisted

She Persisted

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Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

Throughout American history, there have always been women who have spoken out for what’s right, even when they have to fight to be heard. In early 2017, Senator Elizabeth Warren’s refusal to be silenced in the Senate inspired a spontaneous celebration of women who persevered in the face of adversity. In this book, Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity, sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all certainly persisted.

She Persisted is for everyone who has ever wanted to speak up but has been told to quiet down, for everyone who has ever tried to reach for the stars but was told to sit down, and for everyone who has ever been made to feel unworthy or unimportant or small.

With vivid, compelling art by Alexandra Boiger, this book shows readers that no matter what obstacles may be in their paths, they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. Persistence is power.

This book features: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor—and one special cameo.

32 pages, Kindle Edition

First published May 30, 2017

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About the author

Chelsea Clinton

89 books162 followers
Chelsea Clinton has always been interested in making the world a better place. When she was a child in Little Rock, Arkansas, one of her favorite books was 50 Simple Things Kids Can Do to Save the Earth, and as a teenager in Washington, D.C., she led her school’s service club. While at Stanford, Chelsea worked as a reading and writing tutor and volunteered at the Children’s Hospital. Today, she is Vice Chair of the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation where she helps lead the work of the Foundation across its various initiatives, with a particular focus on work related to health, women and girls, creating service opportunities, and empowering the next generation of leaders. Chelsea holds a BA from Stanford University, an MPH from Columbia University, and an MPhil and doctorate degree in international relations from Oxford University. She lives in New York City with her husband, Marc, their daughter, Charlotte, their son, Aidan, and their dog Soren.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,154 reviews
Profile Image for Michelle.
147 reviews234 followers
November 28, 2018
I picked up "She Persisted" expecting my inner 8 year old to be drawn in and perhaps be inspired by tales of courage, intelligence --and naturally, persistence. After reading this book though, I could say that its heart is in the right place, but the execution failed to make any real impact.

The premise is workable ("she persisted") but I think the author's task isn't just to regurgitate isolated facts -- rather it is to weave a narrative that a child can then empathize with, and walk in the footsteps of the protagonists. Each story felt like a cut and paste from Wikipedia, and the presentation has the allure of reading a dictionary. The artwork is cute but it does nothing to draw a viewer into the narrative.

Nevertheless, whether or not this book is any good, it's a worthy effort. I think teaching children - girls and boys- to persist should be regarded with utmost importance. Nothing comes easy, and there are always people and circumstances who will stand in your way. Only by persisting can anyone succeed.
Profile Image for Julie G .
870 reviews2,683 followers
June 16, 2017
I recently read and reviewed Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls and wondered at the process (which was not explained in the book) that was used to select 100 rebellious women and girls from the entire world.

Chelsea Clinton was tasked with a similar job in her new children's book, She Persisted, but Clinton at least had a narrowed scope, of selecting only 13 American women who persisted.

So, I asked myself, before I began. . . Who would be MY 13 American women. . . who persisted? Well, it just came rolling out (though I have placed them by order of birth). . . Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Kate Chopin, Edith Wharton, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Willa Cather, Zora Neale Hurston, Carson McCullers, Flannery O'Connor, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Toni Cade Bambara and Alice Walker.

Turns out. . . none of those ladies are in Ms. Clinton's book.

Okay, so no writers (even though they have influenced ME more than any other women!), so what did the former President's daughter use as HER guideline here?

Well, it's explained on the book jacket, “Chelsea Clinton celebrates thirteen American women who helped shape our country through their tenacity-sometimes through speaking out, sometimes by staying seated, sometimes by captivating an audience. They all persisted.”

Of the 13 women, I hadn't heard of 5 of them, so, similar to the Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls experience, I scratched my head on a few.

But, overall, this book is precious, the watercolor illustrations are beautiful, and, if my 9-year-old's response is any indication, it will be well-received by girls.
Profile Image for Calista.
3,803 reviews31.2k followers
December 26, 2017
An Inspiring book about 13 women who helped shape the country we live in. These women rose above what people said a woman could do. They persisted. We need these examples to remind our next generation that everything is possible to them.

To open doors, children need to know there are others who have opened doors and we can now step through. Be done with limits.

The art gets the job done.

I got this for my Niece and I don't know if she gets it and she did enjoy the story.
Profile Image for Dave Schaafsma.
Author 6 books31.3k followers
November 16, 2017
Each year my family reads all the Goodreads-award-nominated picture books, and we have been doing this for years. Everyone rates each book and adds a comment and it may (or may not) affect my overall rating. This is book #10 of 2017.

Tara: 4.5 stars. Inspiring.

Harry (12): 3 stars. I like how the the title fits all the women in the book.

Hank (11): 3.3 stars. The great history of the twentieth century: She persisted.

Lyra (10): 5 stars!! Inspiring, yeah! Women can do anything they put their minds to.

Dave: 4.5 stars. Inspiring. Taking the next step after "she resisted," Clinton takes the stories of a persistent 13 women, with emblematic quotes to remember them by, to inspire young girls and women (and the boys and men who are with them) to create social justice. Who will remember these stories if we don't retell and re-read these stories?

Harriet Tubman: "I should fight for my liberty as long as my strength lasted."

Helen Keller: "One can never consent to creep when one feels an impulse to soar."

Clara Lemlich (organizing for just factory conditions): "I am one who suffers from the abuses described here, and I move that we go on a general strike."

Nellie Bly: "I have never written a word that did not come from my heart. I never shall."

Virginia Apgar (a doctor who created the Apgar score to test a newborn baby's health): "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me."

Maria Tallchief (Native American dancer): "It never occurred to me to say, 'It hurts to do that.'"

Claudette Colvin (who, at 15, like Rosa Parks, refused to give up her seat to a white woman and move to the back of the bus): "I knew then and I know that, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can't sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, 'This is not right.'"

Sally Ride (astronaut): "Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs someday. You can't be what you can't see."

Florence Griffith Joyner: "When anyone tell me I can't do anything, I'm just not listening anymore."

Of course there are many books like this, and I thank Julie for calling attention to the fact that there are NO WRITERS in Clinton's 13, but it's still a good list, including people we don't usually hear about. Another book like it: Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.
Profile Image for Cyndi.
2,326 reviews95 followers
July 14, 2017
Just finished reading this book to my grandson and it was wonderful! Written by Chelsea Clinton, it is a children's book about thirteen extraordinary little girls who overcame great odds to become extraordinary women who crashed open the doors for the rest of us. Get this book (buy it borrow it from the library, whatever) and read it to your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, neighbors, volunteer at a school, you get the idea. This is the kind of books kids should be reading and learning from. Real life superheroes.
Profile Image for leynes.
1,083 reviews2,930 followers
June 20, 2020
Now this is a children's book that I would read to my hypothetical children. Don't be fooled by the 3-star-rating since it only reflects my personal enjoyment and what I got out of this book (which isn't much since it's not very high in information density and literally only takes five minutes to read). As a children's book, however, this is an absolute banger. It's easily comprehensible, has beautiful illustrations and an important message.
So, if anyone ever tells you no, if anyone ever says your voice isn't important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you.
I highly appreciate children's books that are technically nonfiction since they're a great teaching tool. It's never too early to educate oneself and children are very perceptive. We shouldn't underestimate them. Furthermore, I appreciate the diverse set of women featured in this book.

She Persisted tells the story of thirteen American women who stood their ground in the face of adversity. It would've been even better if women from all around the world would have been featured but since I know that Chealsea Clinton is working on a follow up (entitled She Peristed Around the World) I don't begrudge the fact that only American women were showcased in this first installment.

She Persisted tells the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad, Hellen Keller who became blind and deaf as a toddler and then went on to graduate from Radcliffe College to become an author. Readers will hear of Maria Tallchief, the first Native American prima ballerina, and of Claudette Colvin, who refused to give up her seat on a bus in segregated Montgomery, Alabama, nine months prior to Rosa Parks.
I knew then and I know now that, when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can't sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, "This is not right." ― Claudette Colvin
Readers will marvel at the strenght of Ruby Bridges who was the first to integrate into an all-white elementary school in Louisiana in 1960. Little girls (and boys) might find a new hero in Florence Griffith Joyner, who is up to this day the fastest woman in the world. Her record of 10.49s for 100m was set at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

All in all, She Persisted is a phenomenal children's book. Adults may get five enjoyable minutes out of it but nothing more.
Profile Image for Scottsdale Public Library.
3,180 reviews197 followers
March 3, 2022
In short, simple language, this introduces young readers to notable women throughout U.S. history. Included are some names that may be lesser-known such as Clara Lemlich, who fought for labor rights, and journalist Nellie Bly who, among other assignments, went undercover as a patient in a mental hospital to increase public awareness of maltreatment.
The message of each selection is how each woman had odds stacked against her (i.e. gender, race), but didn’t let that deter her from making significant accomplishments. I also learned of new figures such as Maria Tallchief, who not only became the first great American prima ballerina, but resisted pressure to change her Native American name to one that sounded Russian (as many dancers at the time were).
As the last line reads, “They persisted and so should you”. Also check out Clinton’s “She Persisted Around the World”. -Sara Z.
Profile Image for Kelli.
844 reviews391 followers
January 28, 2018
This book deserves five thousand stars for its message. Beautiful artwork and a handful of sentences about each woman make this a perfect children’s picture book. The absence of encyclopedic detail allows the truly inspirational message to be the main focus. The last page was wonderful ...connecting the cover image with the book’s spectacular message. My ten-year-old daughter (who has for the most part aged out of picture books) told me she found this book inspiring. I couldn’t agree more! 5 stars
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,000 followers
June 26, 2017
This is a wonderful book about thirteen women who persisted even after being told they should shut up and stay in the kitchen. In the case of prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, she was told she should change her name because “Tallchief” revealed her Native American heritage. Instead, she became the first American prima ballerina.

The illustrations were wonderful and the vocabulary appropriate for my first-grade niece. The stories are inspiring and important. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Beth.
2,902 reviews194 followers
June 9, 2017
I have to admit, I was a bit dubious when I heard about this book. It seemed like it was just a quick way to capitalize on a particular moment in politics. But then I read the book. It is beautifully written and thoughtfully curated. The women included in this book go beyond the typical names you're used to reading about like Rosa Parks or Susan B. Anthony. But whether the women in this book were well-known or little-known, one thing unites them all. They were warned. They were given an explanation. Nevertheless, they persisted. And so should you.
Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews112 followers
November 23, 2017
"Young girls need to see role models in whatever careers they may choose, just so they can picture themselves doing those jobs. You can't be what you can't see." Sally Ride, Astronaut

In 'She Persisted', Chelsea Clinton presents the real life stories of thirteen American woman who defied expectations and rose above adversity. Varying in ages, races and achievements these women where at some point told no, you can not, its impossible. I love a good illustrated book and this one definitely delivered. Some of the women I had heard of before but some where new to me. I love the message of the book. Its as relevant today as it was years ago. A book whose target audience is children but should be read by everyone.

While the book is not overtly political, the inspiration is worth learning about. In February 2017, Elizabeth Warren voiced her objections to the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General. The senate majority leader Mitch McConell put a vote to silence Warren and she was told to sit down. Sessions was confirmed and at the end of the vote McConell said about Warren: " She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted ." While that comment was meant to diminish Warren, it sparked a movement instead. Women rallied behind Warren. If nothing else, my takeaway from this book is to make our voices be heard, regardless of the outcome
Profile Image for Celia.
1,166 reviews150 followers
May 3, 2019
I became interested in this book because I read about Maria Tallchief, an American prima ballerina, who also happens to be a Native American Indian. She and the other twelve women described were told no, your dreams are too big, but THEY PERSISTED.

Harriet Tubman - a 'station' on the Underground Railroad
Helen Keller - blind, deaf and dumb, she learned to speak
Clara Lemlich - champion for women's working rights in New York
Nellie Bly - journalist
Virginia Apgar - a doctor, developed the Apgar score for determining the health of newborns (still in use today
Claudette Colvin - bus sit-in, inspired Rosa Parks
Ruby Bridges - integrated a white school as a kindergartner
Margaret Chase Smith - first female senator and representative
Sally Ride - first woman in space
Florence Griffith Joiner - track star
Oprah Winfrey media superstar
Sonia Sotomayor - first Latina Supreme Court Judge

March was Women's History month. Read this short book in honor of these persistent historical women.

4 stars
Profile Image for Erin Entrada Kelly.
Author 22 books1,443 followers
March 30, 2020
Excellent mix of historical and contemporary. Sadly, no Asian American women. But still good. The artwork is perfection.
Profile Image for ✦BookishlyRichie✦.
639 reviews1,038 followers
October 14, 2017
This was a quick, inspiring, and amazing read. I read it while I was helping out at my cousin's book fair and it was selling like crazy so that's great to hear. :)
Profile Image for Gary Anderson.
Author 1 book83 followers
June 30, 2017
When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intended to rebuke Senator Elizabeth Warren during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings for Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, McConnell uttered the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted.” As it turns out, McConnell created a new rallying cry for women: “She Persisted.”

She Persisted, Chelsea Clinton’s new picture book, isn’t overtly political, but it capitalizes on McConnell's phrase to present thirteen American women who pushed through barriers to accomplish feats that benefit all of us.

Some of these women were quite young at the time of their difficulties. These will resonate especially clearly with school-age readers. Each of the thirteen women is explained with a one-paragraph “she persisted” story supported by a quote from the woman herself and two Alexandra Boiger illustrations, one showing the subject at the time of her perseverance and another demonstrating the larger effect of her persistence.

I hope grown-ups will help young readers find their way to She Persisted. It’s an appealing, useful book.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
3,922 reviews35.4k followers
March 27, 2018
I read Chelsea Clinton’s book at my local library. Grade level is aimed at preschool to 3rd grade. I read this week’s ago.

My first thoughts were that the illustrations looked elementary....fine - but the rest of the book isn’t. I didn’t think the illustrations- size of the book and the stories fit together at all.
The threadbare- cliff-note stories were ‘lacking’ in storytelling creativity. The language would be hard for pre school kids to comprehend.
The quotes of inspiration by famous women in American History were good - but
I can’t imagine an average 4 year old girl being very interested.

The book SIZE & SHAPE feels awkward to me. It’s definitely for a ‘pre- school’ child, just by its packaging, yet the stories are way past the ages it’s aimed at.
The messages are somewhat shaky, IMO... There are quotes by each woman written about ...being a positive message for girls ...but some of them are saying their dreams are impossible and they should step down.

This book was a very mixed bag for ‘me’ ....
Maybe adults might love it....but pre school children? ‘Maybe’ some of it.

Profile Image for Jeremy.
Author 2 books217 followers
July 9, 2021
A+ for not including Margaret Sanger. F for not including Jenny Geddes. B+ for an interesting idea for a children’s book, with some accounts of truly brave women, some of whom exhibited their courage as very young girls. F for the context of its genesis, mentioned in Clinton's dedication. F for teaching young readers that "no" means "yes."

In September 2018, Waco held a "Nevertheless, She Preached" conference. In one of the sessions, Dr. Gaventa (Baylor prof) is introduced by someone who acknowledges that it's "a stretch for some of us" to love the Apostle Paul.

As an aside, the first time #ShePersisted, things didn't go so well: "But Eve / Persisted" (Paradise Lost 9.376–77).
Profile Image for La Coccinelle.
2,243 reviews3,561 followers
July 3, 2019
This book was actually a fairly pleasant surprise. I'm always a little wary when it comes to celebrity picture books. I did enjoy Barack Obama's turn as a children's book author, so I thought I'd give this one a try. And though I'm not American, I still found the subject matter interesting.

She Persisted presents 13 women who achieved their goals despite the odds being stacked against them. Some of them--Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Oprah Winfrey--I wasn't surprised to see. But there were a few women that I'd never even heard of before, such as Clara Lemlich, Maria Tallchief, and Claudette Colvin. I was also surprised to learn that Apgar scores were named after a woman; I'd always assumed the system was devised by a man, which goes to show why books like this are needed.

Each quick vignette is accompanied by a quote from the person in question, and the book is illustrated beautifully. This would be a great gift for a girl, even if she's not American (although there is a second book called She Persisted Around the World, which looks a little more global).

Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Daina Chakma.
349 reviews626 followers
August 21, 2018
“So, if anyone ever tells you no, of anyone says your voice isn't important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you.”

So, this book is about 13 fabulous American Women from different fields who didn't give up. Despite all odds, they've persisted. There were some women of whom I've never heard before. However, I wouldn't mention them all in this review. I would rather other readers to read this book. Now, as a physician, I would like to mention Dr. Virginia Apgar who was an American obstetrical anesthesiologist. She was best known as the inventor of APGAR Score, a way to quickly assess the health of a newborn child immediately after birth. It's a shame that I didn't know her from my med school for I used her method hundreds of time while assessing the condition of a newborn baby. I think every Neonatologist should be grateful to her forever!
Profile Image for Melki.
5,676 reviews2,324 followers
January 13, 2019
I LOVED this look at 13 women who didn't take NO for an answer.

The illustrations are beautiful . . .


And there are some wonderfully inspiring quotes:

"One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar." ~ Helen Keller

"I knew then and I know now that when it comes to justice, there is no easy way to get it. You can't sugarcoat it. You have to take a stand and say, 'This is not right.'" ~ Claudette Colvin

"When anyone tells me I can't do anything . . . I'm just not listening anymore." ~ Florence Griffith Joyner

Profile Image for Dolly.
Author 1 book643 followers
December 21, 2017
"Nevertheless, she persisted." This quote was uttered as a disparaging remark about Senator Elizabeth Warren, but was taken back by the Women's March movement and is a rallying cry for political protests.

This book features short stories about dynamic women; women who were notable for their efforts. I would've liked the book more if it had picked a few more women who weren't already included in so, so, so many other books about female pioneers and leaders.

Nothing against Harriet Tubman and Helen Keller, but I am confident that Ms. Clinton could've come up with some more contemporary figures.

To be fair, there are certainly some lesser-known female figures in the book (e.g., Claudette Colvin, who inspired the more-famous Rosa Parks to refuse to give up her seat on the bus).

I have read some very inspiring books about women in science, education, government, and other fields recently and I know that the entire book could be filled with women who aren't well known, but should be.

I first listened to the audiobook version (with ISBN13 9780525529002), and while Chelsea Clinton does a more-than-adequate job narrating her own book, it really loses something without the pictures. This book would be better served by a CD/paperback edition so a child can follow along with the book as she listens to the audiobook.

It would be nice if one day a book like this wasn't necessary, but right now it is. Sally Ride is quoted in this book, "You can't be what you can't see." So, until it is commonplace for women of all ages, races, abilities, religions, sexual orientations, and other defining demographics to serve our country in visible positions of power, books like this are still necessary.

December 2017 update: I finally got ahold of the ebook version (with ISBN13 9781524741778), so I could reread the book, seeing the wonderful illustrations and reflect again upon the various women who are profiled in the pages.

I feel that the book is very appropriate for younger audiences, but could stand to include a bit more information on the myriad achievements of the featured women.

Overall, it's a good entry into the nonfiction tales about women who have made a difference in our world, but I've seen better.

The colorful illustrations are likely to appeal to younger audiences and I hope that boys and girls who read this book make positive connections with their own potential to succeed and change the world.

interesting quote:

[attributed to [author:Margaret Chase Smith|2109811] "The right way is not always the popular and easy way. Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character." (p. 23)
Profile Image for Erikka.
1,792 reviews
July 13, 2018
Do you know a little girl? Are you a little girl? Does someone you know know a little girl? If so, tell them about this book. Read this book. Embrace. This. Book. Clinton does a simply beautiful job introducing 13 diverse women who stood up to discouragement based on their gender and succeeded in long-lasting ways. The artwork by Alexandra Boiger is lovely and shows these women not only as themselves, but as their younger selves, striving to reach higher goals they were told weren't available to them. While you're reading this, share it also with little boys in your life. The earlier they are introduced to the amazing abilities of women, the earlier equality can be introduced and nurtured. I plan on sharing this with my nephews because I want them to look at all the women in their lives, all of us who have taken different but equally important paths, and say "she persisted." I want them to be the best kind of feminist because they are already the best kind of boys--my boys. :)
Profile Image for Janet.
247 reviews3 followers
May 29, 2017
Lovely children's book! The book even taught this old feminist about some important persistent women that I had never heard of.
If you have a young daughter, know someone's young daughter, or one day want a nice gift for a young random acquaintance; buy this. Read it yourself first before you give it away.
Profile Image for Katherine.
510 reviews5 followers
June 30, 2017
I really enjoyed the book, but I would like more information on each of these women - the time period they lived in, the context... The moral of each story is "She persisted," which, while powerful, is missing something. Readers who know these women will enjoy the collection of them, but otherwise it will fly over most children's heads.
Profile Image for Russ Anderson.
28 reviews19 followers
June 4, 2017
"Sometimes being a girl isn't easy. At some point, someone probably will tell you no, will tell you to be quiet and may even tell you your dreams are impossible. Don't listen to them."

An important book for readers of all ages.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
3,928 reviews84 followers
January 15, 2019
I was today years old when I learned that the Apgar scale was invented by and named for a woman. Another wonderful collection by Chelsea Clinton. Love the illustrations—the Harriet Tubman one in particular is very stirring.
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,875 reviews133 followers
November 27, 2017
She Persisted: 13 Women Who Changed the World

I Picked Up This Book Because: I saw an interview with Chelsea on The Tonight Show about the book and thought it was a great idea so when I saw my local library had it I picked it up.

The Story:

This book was exactly what it says it is. Wonderful women who persisted to change the world. Beautiful quotes from each and vivid illustrations. I wish every little girl in the world could read this book.

The Random Thoughts:

I’m buying a few copies to donate to local schools.

The Score Card:


5 Stars
Profile Image for Elizabeth☮ .
1,509 reviews11 followers
January 16, 2018
We bought an autographed copy of this one for our youngest who is now six.

I liked that Clinton picked not just well known women (Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller and Sally Ride), but also lesser known women like Clara Lemlich and Maria Tallchief. Azaria kept asking to look all of them up so she could see pictures and make comparisons of what we found online to what she read in the book.

Clinton picked a broad range of women from American history. I think she will definitely follow up with women from all over of the world that have help change the norms for society. This is an empowering read and one that helps educate while instilling a sense of pride in young girls.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,154 reviews

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